John Cage's 4′33″


"I have nothing to say / and I am saying it / and that is poetry / as I needed it" -- John Cage
John Cage's most famous musical composition is called 4'33".

It consists of the pianist going to the piano, and not hitting any keys for four minutes and thirty-three seconds.  (He uses a stopwatch to time this.)  In other words, the entire piece consists of silences -- silences of different lengths, they say.

On the one hand, as a musical piece, 4'33" leaves almost no room for the pianist's interpretation: as long as he watches the stopwatch, he can't play it too fast or too slow; he can't hit the wrong keys; he can't play it too loud, or too melodramatically, or too subduedly.

On the other hand, what you hear when you listen to 4'33" is more a matter of chance than with any other piece of music -- nothing of what you hear is anything the composer wrote.


Listen, in a variety of formats...
MIDI
john_cage_4m33s.mid (39 bytes, MIDI)
OGG
433.ogg (8,827 bytes, Ogg Vorbis)
Sun .au
433.au.gz (2,982 bytes -- 3MB unGZ'd, AU)
.wav
433.zip (3,108 bytes -- 3MB unzipped, WAV)

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